Wooden Drum Festival of Wa Ethnic Minority in Ximeng County, Puer

Chinese Name: 西盟县佤族木鼓节
English Name: Wooden Drum Festival of Wa Ethnic Minority in Ximeng County, Puer

The “Grey Month” in Wa’s calendar (i.e. December in solar calendar) is the time for Wa people to hold the Wooden Drum Dragging activity. The day before the festival, the head and the “Moba” (priest) lead a small group of people to the pre-selected big red tree right in the dark night. After sacrificial offering rites (oblations, ghost expelling, incantations chanting), the “Moba” uses an axe to cut the tree for the first several moves then the other people altogether cut the tree down, on the stump they put three stones as money paid to the tree ghost. Then they cut the trunk into sizes of the needed wooden drums, chisel out drum ears and fasten the drums by rattans.

The next day early in the morning, all people in the village, from the old to the young, will climb up the hill to drag the wooden drums. The “Moba”, holding high up a tree branch, lead people to sing the song of “wooden drum dragging”, command and coordinate people in their action. People strew water wine on the ground where the wooden drums is passing through, men dragging the wooden drums will sing and dance along the way, and other people will cheer on for them or send them wine or food. In fact the wooden drums they’re dragging are yet semifinished materials, which will be put outside of the entrance of the village for two or three days. Then the “Moba” kills chicken for sacrificial offering, and put the semifinished wooden drums on the ground beside the wooden drum house and hand them over to the carpenters.

On this day, men and women dragging the wooden together, it is said to be a good chance to find someone to fall in love with. It takes time for people to drag the drums, sing, dance and play. After the wooden drum is finished and qualified by test beats, people will lift and put them into the wooden drum house, and the celebration continues, the wooden drum dance starts and coordinates with the drum beats.